President Donald Eastman
College campuses are very special places – and if they are treated right, become holy ground. They become sanctified, piece by piece, not all at once. And they become sanctified through the experiences and the memories of the people who attend….and become adults there.
Space by space, people remember where they first fell in love. Where they wrote their first check. Where they met someone who turns out to be a friend for life. Where they won a tennis match. Or lost one.
They have the deepest experiences because they are in such a fragile and transformative age – traditional college students.
This is, as you all know, a very young institution. We will have our 48th commencement on Sunday. As some of my British friends say, “I have whiskey older than that.”
I want to thank the Weeks, who fighting through their grief, have become a part not only of the lives of their sons’ friends, but so many of the rest of us to help consecrate this part of Eckerd College to their sons’ memories. Because of them, and your love for them, where we stand now will forever be a place that reminds us of the beauty and youth and grace of their boys.
It is a place that in some ways will exhibit the song that was played over and over when they came here a year and a half ago for the memorial event that we had, a song that I knew as a Bob Dylan song – Forever Young. A piece of which I have gotten in the habit now of repeating at commencement in my last concluding remarks. And will do so again on Sunday.
So while we all continue to be stunned by the injustice of what happened to Holt and Stone, it is wise of us to take this opportunity to use the consecration of this place to their memory … so we are all lifted … so that we all understand the connection between Holt Weeks and Eckerd College and thereby better understand what it is a college is really supposed to do. And what its campus is really about. Welcome to this special ceremony.
The Prophet : On Time by Kahlil Gibran
Vice President and Dean of Students James Annarelli